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The total value of health: a review of literature

Dee W. Edington (The University of Michigan Health Management Research Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)
Alyssa B. Schultz (The University of Michigan Health Management Research Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Publication date: 28 March 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The goal of this review is to present the literature which provides evidence of the association between health risks and the workplace economic measures of time away from work, reduced productivity at work, health care costs and pharmaceutical costs.

Design/methodology/approach

A search of PubMed was conducted which combined the keyword search terms “health risks” with “health costs”, “pharmaceutical costs”, “absenteeism”, “productivity”, “workers compensation”, and “presenteeism”. High quality studies were selected and combined with studies known to the authors.

Findings

A strong body of evidence exists which shows that health risks of employees are associated with health care costs and pharmaceutical costs. A growing body of literature also confirms that health risks are associated with the productivity measures of time away from work, workers' compensation, absenteeism and presenteeism. Furthermore, studies have shown that changes in risks are associated with changes in health care costs, time‐away‐from‐work and presenteeism.

Originality/value

The paper shows that measures of success will continue to be important as the field of worksite health management moves forward. Research needs to progress beyond simple associations to the evaluation of changes in costs, trends and transitions over time.

Keywords

Citation

Edington, D.W. and Schultz, A.B. (2008), "The total value of health: a review of literature", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 8-19. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538350810865569

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited